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America 16, U.s. 11, Us 10, Florida 10, Pennsylvania 8, Chicago 7, Islam 6, China 6, Romney 5, Naacp 5, Cairo 5, Philadelphia 4, Michael Waldman 4, Tony Danza 3, Benghazi 3, Brennan 3, Garth 3, Europe 3, Ben 3, Obama 3,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    September 13, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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mcconnell released statements mourning the loss of four american lives but close not to mention president obama. and senator dick lugar said, quote, i'm not going to make any comment about the political. none. longtime mccain adviser mark salter wrote, the rush by republicans, including mitt romney, sarah palin and scores of other conservative critics -- to condemn president obama for policies they claim helped precipitate the attacks, is as tortured in its reasoning as it is unseemly in its timing. this was the "wall street journal"'s peggy noonan. >> romney looked weak today, i'm absorbing it myself. one point he had a certain slight grimace on his face taking tough questions from the reporters and i thought he looks like richard nixon. >> but as the dust settles, gop pundits and commentators are today trying to brush past the nakedly political aspects of romney's criticism and instead turn the dialogue towards a broader criticism of the
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president's foreign policy plan. >> they were testing us with the initial attacks and we -- what did they get back from the obama administration? a complaint about -- about -- about film that insulted the little darlings feelings. >> the leader defended the united states of america and said there will be consequences if you attack this country. >> weekly standard kol lull nift bill crystal wrote, romney is right to bring home the weakness of the obama administration, exemplified in the disgraceful statement issued yesterday. if romney can prove strong and thoughtful over foreign policy it could be an infliction point in the presidential campaign. richard wolffe, i don't doubt this an inflection point we led into the show with mitt romney talking about making america stronger and again beating this drum of conflict overseas. one point he said there's only one conflict allotted in the
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president's defense plan as if americans have some sort of blood lust for going into various countries around the world and engaging militarily. do you think the gop can turn this around for mitt romney? >> no. there are a couple of problems, major problems, that mitt romney has underscored with his performance over the last 24 hours. one is that, as a challenger, especially against an incumbent president you need to look presidential, sound presidential, check off the presidential box that also means checking off the commander in chief box. didn't talk about afghanistan in any meaningful way in his convention. and obviously has fumbled very badly in the last 24 hours. that's one bar. another bar is, these presidential campaigns are very bad ways to test what a future president will be like. the one glimpse we have is when events happen. a crisis happens. what do you like under pressure? it's a fake kind of pressure, how do you respond in front of
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the cameras is not the same as being in the security briefing, being in the situation room, and really having to take real-life decisions. do we go in and bomb bin laden's compound or send in a dangerous commander? that's what presidents deal with. how you react is also a measure. john mccain failed in the economic collapse happened in late 2008 and i say mitt romney failed yesterday with his statement because he looked small, he was too much in a rush to judgment, too much in a rush to make a point. one more minute and i'll shut up. if you say we are the party that respects faith you respect all faiths. if you say we are the party that hates people who denigrates faith you say i hate people who denigrates all faiths. they are carving out everything to do with islam as being disgust, outrageous. we should be standing up for faithful, respectable
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muslim-americans and muslims around the world, not murderous mobs, but we should respect islam just like president bush did after 9/11. >> it's amazing we have to go back to the post-september 11th bush's comments to the country. i think to some degree to conservatives as a reminder where this party has come in terms of the rhetoric around islam. joy, the president aes doctored mitt romney's criticism yesterday on cbs. let's play sound from that. >> there's a broader lesson to be learned here. governor romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. and as president, one of the things i've learned is you can't do that. you know, it important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through ramifications before you've made them. >> one thing we've been talking about, not just vis-a-vis this moment, but multiple times in the campaign we thought, what is the strategy here? what is the strategy in picking
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paul ryan if you're not prepared to talk specifics? >> right. >> this is another instance where it really does seem like mitt romney did not put a lot of thought into the timing of the release, the doubling down of the attacks, and also just optically sandwiching himself between the secretary of the state and the president of the united states speaking in the rose garden during an international crisis. >> he inserted himself into the world event and did so ham handedly. you're right. it gets to temperament, right? one of the things the president was contrasting himself with, he does have the first-class temperament, he's calm. that's one of the thing his contrasted with mccain, who's a more experienced hand but who americans when they looked at two side by side seeing obama has the sober temperament in crisis. mitt romney's placed himself in the john mccain box in that sense. to your point, judgment. the idea you assert yourself into the situation at all if you're not prepared to do in a wholistic way that makes you look presidential.
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the third thing is empathy. what struck me about the comments that mitt romney made about the statement it absolutely lacked empathy. the people who put out that statement were trying to save lives, not only their own but other. when the film came, which is a trashing of islam, it's a trashing of islam fore90 minutes, they saw that coming, the protests for that coming, and the people at that embassy issued that statement to try to calm temperatures down because they saw the risk. they're on the ground, they're experiencing this, he has no empathy for that. >> we talked about this a little on the show dwreyesterday, we'l talk about it more, it's a miscalculation of the on the ground realities, how messages get delivered, there radical clerics, people in the meechidd east that insight anti-american hatred. when we talk about the reasoning behind all 0 of this, why go to foreign policy?
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greg sergeant has an interesting analysis, though the race is neck and neck and americans see the president and mitt romney as equally qualified on the economy, not though, because of that, he needs to find something else. and we've talked about the kitchen sink strategy. this would seem to be an example of that. they got nowhere else to go so they're going to try to sort of get on this bandwagon that the president is an apologist and appeaser and mitt romney will project strength, never mine there are no specifics to back that up. >> remember the context, romney is coming off a convention where he forgot to mention war, the first gop nominee in half a century to do that, and has been defensive about that. and this came a day or two after he was being hammered by really the entire republican establishment for running a crappy campaign and they were saying, you need to be more aggressive. and you need something to move the needle because the needle's not in your favor at this point. along comes a potential game
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changer, a crisis. so i think his team thought, here's our chance, we're going to jump on this, move the needle, look aggressive, look pro-american. that was the strategy, as far as it went. i was struck watching him, i was reminded of the '08 campaign when hillary clinton ran her famous 3:00 a.m. ad is barack obama ready when the call comes at 3:00 am on the red telephone? if obama had had the series of missteps that romney's had every single time he's approached foreign policy, he goes to london, disses the olympics, goes to israel and says palestinians' culture is to blame for their problems, he does this, over and over, it's a pattern really of complete ineptitude in this area, that makes you wonder this is what he does when he's awake. what would he do at 3:00 a.m.? >> it is amazing, given that -- exactly, don't pick up the phone, please -- given that the romney team released today a
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statement hitting obama on china saying that the china has taken president obama to the mat. you almost want to put a stop sign up and say, just don't talk about any country other than america. >> yeah. economy, economy, economy. >> this is not a winner for you, richard. even china stuff, henry kissinger, sat on the sidelines and said, romney, this isn't the best way to deal with the chinese. who knows about china other than henry kissinger. >> let's be clear, china's not an enemy. it may not be entirely an ally either. it has been, probably will to be for decades to come, something in between. countries are, and that's the world as we find it. you can try to say america needs to project leadership. what are we are going to do in libya right now in terms of leadership that they're talking about? >> right. >> there a role for the military? is that the kind of strength that they assume? one thing you would think about the kinds of advisers about mitt romney they would have learned
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some lessons from their experience in iraq, namely that military, american military, is the supreme fighting force this world has ever seen. they're freetremendously good a fighting wars and winning wars. the whole post-regime change sent nar yo was a mess, to put it mildly. at that point you need diplomats. they are going to be at risk. you cannot project power and say to a diplomat, you're going to go out in an armored vehicle, surrounded by people who will protect you against rocket propelled grenades. that's not what diplomats can do. this is dangerous work but if america wants to lead on democracy has to do in. parts of the world where we are not working with allies or enemies, that's exactly where america needs to insert itself, put out your press releases, do what you like, but politics in the foreign policy realm is a bit more complicated and even
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voters understand that. >> it's complicated talking about china when the country owns $1.3 trillion of the debt. the taking to the mat wrestling metaphor not most useful one. after the break, strange relations. protests across the middle east as the white house tightropes a delicate diplomatic situation in the region. last night obama reaffirmed importance of america's role on the global stage. >> well, look, the united states doesn't have an option of withdrawing from the world. and you know we're the one indispensable nation, countries all around the world look to us for leadership, even countries where sometimes you experience protests and so it's important for us stay engaged. >> we'll discuss the foreign policy challenges ahead for the white house next on "now." i have a cold, and i took nyquil,
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we have the greatest respect for people of faith. to us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be. but there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable. >> that was secretary of state hillary clinton saying the u.s. government had no connection to the controversial movie slandering the prophet muhammad but condemning the violent reaction to it. anti-american protests made a
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complex and volatile foreign policy situation even more combustible. for the third day, protests erupted outside the u.s. embassy in cairo with police firing tear gas to try to disperse the crowds. earlier today, hundreds of demonstrators swarmed an american embassy in yemen, protesters in the city of sana'a broke through the compound, torched cars and set fire to a building but stopped before entering the main diplomatic billing. tehran 50 protesters shouting death to america marched on the swiss embassy that handles u.s. interests. protests broke out in baghdad with demonstrators calling on the closure of the u.s. embassy. tunisia's capital, protesters burned american flags and the u.s. embassy in algeria warning of a demonstration and advising americans to avoid crowded places. we've gotten word that the u.s. embassy in amman, jordan, issued a warning for americans after learning about a planned demonstration there tomorrow. two years after the seismic changes brought by about the arab spring, new governments and untested leaders put america on
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uncertain ground in terms of middle east diplomacy. nbc's jim maceda is live in cairo. i won't say a powder keg, but this violence and the anger, the outrage, seems to be spreading across the middle eastern world. if you could give us an update on the latest. >> reporter: well, that's true. the powder keg is still conserving its powder, it seems. ironical ironically, benghazi remained pretty calm, perhaps the libyan government's quick crack down on perpetrators, a number have been arrested already. there's a man hunt going on if you believe what you hear from the libyan government. that's perhaps had an affect on tamping down the tension in benghazi. but the u.s. government's taking no chances. all u.s. diplomatic personnel evacuated to tripoli and only emergency staff being kept on at the embassy in the capital. as you mentioned in cairo, it's
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been another -- on the third day of protests -- another active day but not a lot of death -- no deaths spo-to-speak of. not too many people have been injured. so perhaps a second degree level of violence. overnight dramatic scenes near the u.s. embassy, which is about 500 yards behind me down the road next to the mosque, riot police charging forward, firing tear gas, trying in vain to disperse a crowd. this cat and mouse stand-off went on all day today. expecting to see it again later on. now the biggest concern, as you alluded to, is that the protests would spread elsewhere. so far they are but again, on very small scale. >> thank you to nbc's jim maceda. we'll be talking to you more as the situation develops over there. thanks for your time. friends on the panel, you know, there have been really interesting pieces of analysis regarding what this is all
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about, and i will call your attention to david ignatius in "the washington post," what happens happening in cairo and benghazi is a case of political opportunism by salafist islamic extremists. this is not about america, bit factions battling for power in a fluid political situation. jonathan, i enjoyed your piece about mitt romney and how badly he's miscalculated this thing. so many variables, he didn't wait to hear about the time line and the information is still coming out specifically regarding who the aggressors were in libya. >> yeah. >> you think about that, the broader trend lines of what is going on in the middle east. >> right. >> and just how complicated the situation is and how in need of a more nuisanced foreign policy expertise it really is. >> you would like that because
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what you have is basically nonviolent christian extremists in the united states operating in concert with violent muslim extremists in the middle east. and they feed off of each other and provoke each other. are essentially working together, though they don't see themselves as that way, they see themselves as at war with each other but they're after the same thing, after provoking a civilizational war between the christian world and the muslim world. it's hard for people who don't share that agenda to stop them. mitt romney doesn't seem to identify this as a major problem. in some ways he's, i think, ignoring the dangerous dynamic. >> and in difficulty of being the commander in chief, president obama was on television last night, charged by jose diaz-balart is the new egyptian government friend or foe, he said they're not an enemying but they're not an ally either. some people will say he's being too cautious. at the end of the day we don't
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know. these are all new governments, new regime, different interests. we look at reaction of the egyptian government to the violence at u.s. embassy, they waited 24 hours before saying anything, they haven't exactly strong armed those protesters. some of them have -- there's an encouragement of having a second day of protest but without the violence. >> president obama's approach to foreign policy is very different than george w. bush's, and it has one overriding benefit, he hasn't put americans in harm's way in volatile situations. he hasn't put boots of the ground. that said it doesn't make the problems of what happened after a revolution or regime change any easier to deal with. it just means that you don't have him put a target there for people to go after beyond the embassies that we have in place. so ypost-arab spring have a lot of big questions to resolve, and there are plenty of things that mitt romney could go after if he wanted to in an intelligent way to question whether the administration has handled it appropriately or
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aggressively or intelligently enough. but we're going to have these problems when we're in that in between state of friend and foe which is about the best place we can be. that's the best-case scenario. >> right. do no harm. you know, i read a lit of countries seeing demonstrations uprising, i mean this -- i'm not saying it's arab spring part ii, but certainly this is something that is sweeping the region. and the question is, actually i would love to know, richard, do you think that foreign policy becomes the sort of game changer in this election, given how widespread protests are. >> i don't but i think it's a crucial test of people's comfort with leaders and that's why the presidential test is so important. there's a debate that our leaders need to have with this country and the rest of the world about how we win the battle of ideas against radical islam. and it is a battle of ideas. the good thing is that this country has a great track record of winning just such a battle against a more formidable enemy
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and that was communism. this country won the cold war. republicans like to think it's about a military buildup. for decades across europe there was a battle of ideas playing out in which america was involve. what it tried to do through the cia, diplomacy and civil society, was to splinter the left, to come to the point, what they did was say, there is a hard line communist funded by the kremlin but we're also going to help set up these moderate socialists parties, the centrist socialist party. split the left, divide power, they'll argue amongst themselves and responsible leftist lead lrers emerge. that's what's playing out. there's terrorism from the hard left, across europe through decades. there were people getting kidnapped, murdered, tortured all the way through. europe had a terrorism problem as battles were being played, battles of ideas. obviously it's more messy and
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violent across the arab and muslim world but thaet's america's role forward, help nurture parties build democrat circumstance splinter the movement and those are the people we work and with. >> joy, even the words, the verbs they're using, help, nurture, are go to be seized upon by the right as mommy diplomacy versus daddy strength. i mean, again, that was mentioned yesterday and i take issue with the gender stereotyping. but we'll have a foreign policy debate and mitt romney will come out yosemite sam style, guns blazing, say week need to prove our strength. polls show that we are not -- i use the phrase blood lust, but we understand the price of war. now more than ever we want the war in afghanistan to end. do we have another appetite for military intervention? >> that points out the difference between mitt romney and barack obama and the fact that mitt romney, in a lot of ways is steeped in bush's foreign policy.
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>> 70% of his pollen policy is foreign bushies. >> there's a style and yearning part of the right to go back to the bush style of what they call diplomacy, constant asserting and puffing of the american chest around the world and words and sort of, you know, talking about america as the greatest country on earth and bullying other countries, that substitutes for foreign policy. i don't think there's an appetite for returning to that style of foreign policy on all of the right. if you look at sort of on the ron paul part of the party, libertarian wing of the party which, by the way, was the most active and most enthusiastic part of the party at convention in tampa, by the way they were the most motivated and there's an exhaustion with the idea of going around the world and sort of pushing our way around. and the obama style fits where americans are, we're tired of it. >> if you're a deficit hawk, budget hawk, making a floor of 4% gdp spending on the defense is not something that a lot of fiscal conservatives would
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appreciate which is part of mitt romney's plan. we'll be sure to be talking about this more in coming weeks. it could determine the outcome of the presidential race but it doesn't involve debates or ad dollars the state battle over voter i.d. laws. we will discuss it with naacp president ben jealous and executive director of the brennan center ahead on "now." this country was built by working people. the economy needs manufacturing. machines, tools, people making stuff. companies have to invest in making things. infrastructure, construction, production. we need it now more than ever. chevron's putting more than $8 billion dollars back in the u.s. economy this year. in pipes, cement, steel, jobs, energy. we need to get the wheels turning. i'm proud of that. making real things... for real. ...that make a real difference.
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coming up, school is still out in chicago, as the city wide teachers strike enters its fourth day. talk of a deal is surfacing. deal or no deal, are we closer to figuring out real lasting education reform? we'll discuss ahead on "now." woman 1: this isn't just another election. we're voting for...
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a word of warning to anyone who thinks the whole election circus may be overcome november 7th. it very well might not be. the outcome could get tied up in court, thanks to new voter i. di laws. voting rights advocates in pennsylvania were in the state's highest court asking a pan of justices to overturn a law requiring residents to show i.d. before they vote. there appeared to be tough questioning from the justices on why the law needs to take effect now. >> these election changes should be implemented in a way to increase, not impede, participation. and they're recommending two federal election cycle to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. my question is, what's the rush? who is it going to hurt? >> it's estimated that the law could prevent as much as 9% of state's population from voting this november. many at risk live in democratic strongholds like philadelphia. that may be by design.
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since 2011, republicans in key swing states including pennsylvania, ohio, and florida, have helped push through voter i.d. laws and restrictions on early voting and voter registration drives. at the dnc last week, civil rights lead somewhere georgia congressman john lewis excoriated those responsible for new laws. >> today it is unbelievable that there are republican officials trying to stop some people from voting. they are changing, they're changing the rules. cutting polling hour, imposing suppressing the vote. that's not right. that's not fair. and that is not just. >> the brennan center estimates that 25% of african-americans and 16% of hispanics do not have government-issued photo i.d. in the ten states that have enacted strict photo i.d. laws more than a million black voters
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and 500,000 hispanic voters live more than ten miles from the i.d. office. joining us from philadelphia, president and ceo of the naacp ben jealous, on set executive director of the brennan center for justice, michael waldman. ben, you are in pennsylvania in philadelphia right now, hearing is under way. >> yep. >> tell us what you're hearing in terms of the dynamics here. do you -- what do you anticipate happening with the pennsylvania voter i.d. laws? >> we're cautiously optimistic that when it's all over the court will do the right thing. you saw justices including the chief justice ask really tough questions to the state and the state did not do a very good job responding to those questions. and you know, when it's all over, i mean the question in front of the court is whether or not they want to be responsible ultimately for what could be a major constitutional crisis here if it's found that this state is
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won by a margin less than the number of voters who have been turned back. and you can see pennsylvania in 2012 become the florida if you will, of the cycle, just like florida of 2000. that's how serious this issue is that's in front of them right now. >> ben, i want to ask you another question, i think one of most powerful arguments against these voter i.d. laws, not against them but drawing -- calling national attention why they're so bad for the country make by eric holder when he likened them to a poll tax and framed this in the larger context of civil rights in america. how do -- how -- for a lot of voters i think they don't understand how much this specifically disenfranchises minorities, by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of votes. how is the naacp working to further that message? >> you know, we have been successful in this year in turning about these laws and similar sorts of voter suppression laws, laws with similar goals, and north
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carolina, minnesota, michigan, we actually got a republican governor to veto a bill similar to this one. texas, mississippi, south carolina, florida, and many, many more states. and the reality is that this year we've seen more laws passed by more states pushing more voters out of the ballot box than the past 100 years. the laws, people sacrificing their lives trying to get rid of 50 years ago, were put in place 50, 60, 70 years to enreconstruction to massively suppress the black vote. when our attorney general says, the u.s. attorney general says this is like a poll tax, what do you say? these are the first significant impediments put in place in 50 years between voters and their fundamental right to vote. this is the first time you're going to to have a pay a fee, whether for the i.d. or and to get your social card or get a copy of your birth certificate,
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this is the first time you're going to have to fill out some other forms, similar to the old reading tests, old literacy tests. it turns back the clock getting us out of a tradition of 50, 60 years expanding a vote to a time we used to suppress the vote and restrict the vote. for it all to come down to pennsylvania, the cradle of our democracy, philadelphia, where the declaration of independence itself was signed, is i think -- calls the question for the nation, are we going to move forward? are we going to keep on the tradition of expanding rights or are we going backward to a dark day restricting rights and making harder to vote. >> the image of the liberty bell in the background as the case goes to court is poignant, if not, i think, a moment for us think about what these laws really mean. michael waldman, you guys have done some incredible research at the brennan center, you've been tenaciously documenting in terms of statistics and data what
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voter i.d. laws mean. one of the most shocking parts, it's not just i.d.s or you may need to have to vote, it's curbing voter registration drives which is so blatantly political and so nakedly -- just make itted make itted naked in terms of transparency keeping people from polls. the florida times union has a poll on the decrease in democratic voter registration. 2008 democrats registered 260,000 voters from july 2011 to august 2012, registered 11,000 voters. now, certainly some part of that may be lack of enthusiasm for the race. but that's a -- that's 5% of what it once was in the previous election cycle. >> you're exactly right, alex, it isn't only voter i.d. laws. over the past two year we've seen a wave of creative and tremendously destructive laws all over the country that make it harder for people to vote. they ended election day
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registration in maine, efforts to cut back early voting a bunch of places. but perhaps the scariest was effort to stop voter tra er registration. in florida there was a law that made it impossible for nonpartisan groups to register voters. that was the bad news and that was true last year. what's interesting and ben jealous was right in saying this, this year especially in the last two months those anti-voter laws hit a wall of opposition from the courts, from prosecutors and the public and you've seen six courts in six states struck down seven laws in past few weeks. and one of them was this florida voter registration law which said we represented at brennan center the league of women voters and rock the vote. the league of women voter is a mainstream respected -- >> not a fringe group. >> they had to stop their voter registration operation in the whole state of florida because of this law.
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it was blocked by a federal court. the voter registration groups are back at work and registrations are starting to happen again. the challenge, as in pennsylvania, is timing. is there enough time to make sure that everybody who is eligible to vote can vote. that's the real challenge in this election. >> and anecdotally, if you're a minority voter and don't have i.d., there's a discouragement factor, right? i'm not going to bother to try. you have written interesting articles about the white vote versus the minority vote and how critical it is to depressing certain parts of the electorate and ensuring other parts come out. >> the biggest factor the election will hinge on is what percentage of the electorate will be nonwhite versus white. that number will tell you so much of what you want to know, who's going to win. it's important to be precise what the nature of the campaign is. it's not the same methods as you saw before the 1960s. it's different methods. it not as dire but it's still
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bad. what they're trying to do is throw up structural impediments that make it difficult and inconvenient for people to vote. they're not using dogs. they're not shooting people who try to vote. they're trying to take advantage of the fact that life is hard, complicated, there's a lot to keep track of. the more impediments you throw up in the way you have to go to office, you have to get this signed, you need this bill, it's too much, it's too difficult because the fact is people don't need to vote the way they need to eat or go to work. it's something you feel good about, responsible for, but if you've got a lot of responsibilities in your life this thing you know where you probably are not going to be the single decisive vote becomes too much of a hassle you give up. >> and that change the lines of the voting electorate and the outcome of the presidential race. ben this is not just a minority issue, this is an american issue. it's worth noting 18% of americans over 65 do not have a photo i.d. this is an american problem. sometimes i am in error in sort
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of focusing on the minority side of it. but truly this is a national problem. >> look, this is truly a national crisis. you know, as i was listening to my colleague from the brennan center what happened in florida, i'd like to point out the florida naacp was the one national group that said we're not going to back down. they threatened us with jail time, they threatened us with fines, we kept on doing our voter registration. so far we've registered more than 30,000 people in florida because our folks down there remember people like harry and ha harriette moore blown up christmas eve 60 years ago. when people were on the front lines, black folks, jewish folks dying in the civil rights movement, this was never about race. this was always about our democracy. and that's what it's about right now. >> michael waldman, i'll let you get your last point in here. >> the good news this year voters are winning. we don't know about pennsylvania. but most voter around the
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country even with these obstacles will be able to vote. people should not stay home because they're worried about this. we've got your back, the naacp's got your back. and in reality when it comes to election day, these obstacles should be overcomable or overcome, and we're hoping it won't have the bad effect we were all afraid of several months ago. >> michael waldman from the brennan center for justice, and thank you to ben jealous of the naacp. after the break, will the chicago teachers union reach a deal with school officials today? could it lead to real reform? we will discuss next on "now." [ male announcer ] this is anna, her long day teaching the perfect swing begins with back pain and a choice. take advil, and maybe have to take up to four in a day. or take aleve, which can relieve pain all day with just two pills. good eye. which can relieve pain all day with just two pills.
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wanted to provide better employee benefits while balancing the company's bottom line, their very first word was... [ to the tune of "lullaby and good night" ] ♪ af-lac ♪ aflac [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. [ yawning sound ] as 350,000 chicago students remain out of school for a fourth straight day, the teachers union and chicago public school officials are back at bargaining table.
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both sides reportedly say a deal could be reached today. one of the main sticking points is an e-val situation system that ranks teachered based on students' performance. standardized tests have become a significant part of the national debate over education reform. ask tony danza. 2009 "who's the boss" became "who's the teach" spent a year teaching at philadelphia's northeast high. his experience is the subject of the new book, he writes about the culture of testing, other teachers tell me they're constantly under the microscope, exhausting and counterproductive. kids learn better when education is fun. how can they make it fun when they have the district breathing down their necks? joining us, actor and author, personal hero, tony danza. his book "i'd like to apologize to every teacher i had my year at a rookie teacher at northeast high" available now. i would like to appaologize to
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every teacher, probably for different reasons. >> i think -- i know a lot of my friends look back on the high school and college years and say, why didn't i apply myself? why didn't a work harder? and that was the message i was trying to bring to kids you get one life and this little part of it is so important considering the world we live in now. >> one of the things, as we talk about the chicago strike and what's happening there, a lot of people can speak from the perspective of outside reformers, people that think the system should be better. few people understand what it's like to be a teach somewhere what it's like to manage a class every day. tell us about your experience teaching for the year that you did. >> i think there's a couple of things people don't take into consideration. first, the a tremendous workload. each teacher is responsible for 150 teenagers. i mean, i love to add the word teenager because that crystallizes it. and then this is tremendous amount of work, mandates from the district, because they're worried about bad teachers they hamstring the good teachers in
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trying to help the bad teachers. there's -- there's mandates, there's professional development, there's literacy initiatives, standardized tests. >> right. >> all the while the there's the curriculum and, as a -- if you're a good teacher you know right away that you have to make the kids sort of think you care about them. >> right. >> even if -- and because they won't work for you. i mean it's -- you hear kids say the teacher doesn't like me, so i don't work. >> right. >> so you do that. but what happens they feel that you're a confidante and you find you have to be a lot of different things. not only a teacher, but a mother, father, brother, counselor, social worker, a nemesis sometimes. so they open up on you and they lay some stuff on you which emotionally it's grinding because you know now what do i do with this information? a lot of times you have to report it because it's a violation. it's really -- it gets to you. >> and the dynamics probably
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can't be cleanly and easily assessed by a standardized test. that's the pushback. >> i don't think good teachers mind being evaluated, i don't. the people i worked with they don't plind that. they want to be evaluated fairly. i think you know they want 40%, the union wants 25%. it seems that should be something we can work out. i feel bad for the kid but i wonder if -- this is a symptom, imagine in this political environment we live in that they were willing to suffer the public relations disaster this is because it's that bad. they had to do it. i see it as symptom, a move to privatize public education, it keeps cutting away at the budget. i did a fund-raiser in march because the budget cuts were so severe they laid off the school nurse. it's terrible that they lay off our teachers and physical ed teachers and shop teachers.
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but the people reacted to the school nurse, 2000 people. >> that's the beacon of the folks that take care of you. the other part we haven't discussed, we don't have enough time, it's not just about the teachers it's the holistic approach to making strengthening our education system and that touches on the american family, too. poverty's a huge part of it. >> a big part. >> the family structure. it can't just be on teachers' shoulders but talking about in chicago 87% of the school kids affected are from low income families. >> yeah, they're all on the free breakfast and free lunch program. that has to be -- that is a factor there's no two ways about it. >> tony danza -- >> real quick, until we can convince the kids it's up to them, in spite of the legitimate obstacles whether a bad teacher, bad school, parents, whatever they have to take advantage of the time because the world they're living in is different
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than the world we lived in. >> my year as a rookie teacher at northeast high is on sale now. read it as we discuss questions of education reform. live at golden, colorado, where president obama is expected to speak in a few moments. we'll bring you his remarks live. humans. we mean well, but we're imperfect creatures living in a beautifully imperfect world. it's amazing we've made it this far. maybe it's because when one of us messes up, someone else comes along to help out. that's the thing about humans. when things are at their worst, we're at our best. see how at libertymutual.com. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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that is all for us. thanks to eric, jonathan, joy-ann and richard. that is all for us. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon. >> thanks very much, alex. coming up here the presidential candidates are back on the campaign trail as anti-american protests spread from libya to cairo and now yemen. we'll check in with richard engel in the regen with ambassador martin indyk. has mitt romney changed his tune or tone? hear from a top campaign adviser as well as congressman chris van hollen on "andrea mitchell reports."
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time for a look at business travelers forecast. i'm meteorologist todd santos. sunshine across the northeast corridor, boston d.c., including philly. towards atlanta, a few more clouds. really florida the best chance to get the showers and thunderstorms this afternoon. detroit, chicago getting some of the activity, chicago especially this afternoon. dallas as well. quiet from seattle to phoenix and l.a. my volt is the best vehicle i've ever driven.
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